Along with the nine qualifiers and two teachers from central, around 400 people from the state of Nebraska went to Atlanta, Georgia for the national Deca competition at the end of April. Their trip lasted from Friday, April 20th to Wednesday the 25th. During this time, the central students and teachers explored some of Georgia’s history through its monuments and food, but most importantly learned the value of competition at an international level.
Aside from Saturday, when the group went to Six Flags, the Deca team had to be at the competition for most of their trip. From opening to closing ceremonies, Central students along with the thousands of others attending the competition were involved with the activities. “We got to go to the deca shop, with college booths and really fun stuff like karaoke” senior competitor Davina Westbrook said. Moreover, these students from Nebraska were able to experience culture outside of Omaha. “I thought that Nationals was fun because we met a lot of different, new people, and I thought that was interesting” sophomore Lauren Lewis said
Not only were these events able to educate the students, but they also immersed the students in the Georgian culture. “There was a lot of diversity we could see when we looked at Atlanta” Westbrook said. Within the competition, there was also new people and experiences for the competitors. “Everyone was so friendly, you could just talk to anyone” Lewis said.
Competing was the most important aspect of the trip. “We went every day, some people had tests on one day, some people had it on another day, some were in the morning and some were afternoon” Gaylor said. Students competed in a role play and a written exam with many specific business situations. “It was challenging, but really fun to get to be independent even though the test was long” Westbrook said.
Overall, the team did well in Atlanta. “We had eight people who were recognized nationally” Gaylor said. With thousands of students from around the world, there was intense competition. Canadian groups swept a multitude of events, taking many awards due to their in-depth preparation, although this could not be said for all events because there were thousands of people from across the united states who achieved highly. “There were tons of people there” Westbrook said, “the competition took forever.”
Throughout the school year, the Deca troupe at Central prepares for important competitions such as nationals. “Preparation is on a daily basis, it’s your classroom, it’s your background” Gaylor said, “we maintain a national curriculum… but whether or not they do extra practice is individual preparation.” Through things such as periodical reviews and presentations, the marketing curriculum at Central prepares students to its best ability for success in Deca.
Although Central is often perceived for its high esteem, Gaylor hopes that the students don’t let their pride overtake them as they learn the value of competition in these large conferences. “life is competition,” Gaylor said, you are not competing for the economic future with only the people at Central High School, you are competing with people all around the world, which is what nationals taught us”